BY MOLLIE S. WATERS
The Greenville Standard
It seems like, every few years, a new virus or flu looms.
In 2009, swine flu had everyone in a panic; in 2014, it was Ebola; and in 2019, it was MERS.
This year, the virus that is wreaking havoc is the coronavirus.
But what is it, and just how concerned should everyone be?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website, this new coronavirus originated in China.
“The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China,” states the CDC website. “The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is not that same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.”
According to the CDC, scientists studying this new coronavirus are not completely sure how it started, though it most likely originated in animals and has now crossed over into humans.
“At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people,” states the CDC website.
Yet, the virus is spreading, and it has now reached the United States; there are active cases of the virus in five states: California, Arizona, Washington, Illinois, and Massachusetts.
Although there have been no reported deaths in the United States so far, at least 560 people in China have died from the virus.
While the virus has not yet reached the South, it may, so people need to be aware of ways to prevent getting it and what to do if one suspects he or she has it.
According to the CDC, prevention methods include what one would do to avoid any flu or virus.
“Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing,” states the website. “If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.”
The website also suggests not touching one’s eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, to avoid close contact with sick people, and to stay home if sick.
“Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash,” states the CDC website. “Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.”
Symptoms of the virus include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Anyone who exhibits those symptoms should seek medical attention, but right now, only the CDC is conducting actual coronavirus tests.
Because this virus is fast-moving, people should stay knowledgeable about where it is spreading and take necessary preventative precautions.
For more information about this virus, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html.